The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Devahuti’s Enlightenment and Liberation which is chapter 33 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the thirty-third chapter of the Third Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 33 - Devahūti’s Enlightenment and Liberation

Maitreya said:

1. Having heard the discourse of Kapila, his mother Devahūti, the (beloved) wife of Kardama, got her veil of delusion torn open. She bowed to him and praised him who was the founder (lit. land) of the Sāṃkhya (system of philosophy) which is mainly characterised by the topic—treatment of Tattvas (principles).[1]

Devahūti said:

2. Even god Brahmā himself who was born of the lotus in your stomach (could not see your body but mentally) meditated upon your person which was lying manifest in the cosmic waters; which was the cause of the entire universe; which consisted of bhūtas (elements), sense-organs and their objects (e.g. fragrance, taste etc.), and the mind, and which has the flow (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) in it.

3. It is with your power divided by the flow of your guṇas that you (of above description), remaining inactive, bring about the creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe; Your will power is effective; You are the controller of all the jīvas (for whose enjoyment you create the universe; Your powers are infinite and beyond comprehension.

4. Oh Lord, how was it possible that you were borne by me in my womb. It was your Māyā, you in whose stomach lay the whole of the universe, and who, at the end of Yugas (i.e. after the deluge set in) lay alone on a banyan leaf in the form of an infant sucking its toe.

5. Oh Supreme Lord, you have assumed the corporeal form for the destruction of the wicked sinners and for the prosperity of those who obey your commands. Just as you have your (other) incarnations of Boar etc., this incarnation (of yours) is for showing the path of self-realization.

6. Oh glorious Lord, even a Cāṇḍāla (lit. a dog-eater) immediately becomes worthy (like a performer) of the Soma Sacrifice, if he has but once heard or uttered your name or bowed to you or remembered you. What need be said of a person (like me) who has (directly) seen you?

7. Oh how wonderful it is that even a Cāṇḍāla (the lowest-born person) becomes superior and worthy of respect simply because Your name is on the tip of his tongue. Those persons of noble behaviour who take your name have (the merit of having) performed penance, sacrifices and baths in holy waters, and Vedic studies (Or: It is as a result of doing these meritorious acts in the previous life that they take your name in this birth).

8. I pay obeisance to you, Kapila, who are the highest Brahman, the Supreme Man who are worthy of meditation in mind which is withdrawn from external objects, and who have dried up the flow of guṇas by your brilliance and who are Viṣṇu (who holds Vedas within him).

Maitreya said:

9. The Supreme Man called the venerable Kapila who was thus praised and who was affectionate to his mother, spoke thus to her in words deep insignificance (Or: with words choked up with emotions.).

Kapila said:

10. Oh mother, I have explained to you the path which is easy to follow. By following this path, you will reach the highest stage (of being liberated while alive).

11. Have faith in my doctrine which has been followed by the knowers of Brahman (or the Vedas). By following this you will attain to me who am without birth (i.e. eternal). Those who are ignorant about this path go to death (saṃsāra).

Maitreya said:

12. The venerable Kapila showed to his pious mother the path leading to Ātman. Having obtained the permission of his mother, who realized the Brahman, Kapila departed (from her hermitage).

13. And in that hermitage which was like a flowerchaplet on the head of the Sarasvatī (river), she adopted Yogic practice in accordance with the guidance of her son, and became composed in mind.

14. She performed ablutions three times a day. Her curly hair became matted and tawny in colour. By severe penance her body became emaciated. She wore bark-garments.

15. The household comforts that were created by Prajāpati Kardama by means of his penance and Yoga were incomparable. They were covetable even to gods.

16. The beds were white and soft like the foam of milk. The ivory couches were chased with gold. The seats of gold were provided with soft cushions (covers).

17. In the walls of transparent crystals and very costly emeralds were shining jewel-lamps along with statues of beautiful damsels made of precious stones.

18. The garden around the house looked beautiful with many blossoming celestial trees, on which couples of birds were warbling and the intoxicated black bees were humming sweetly.

19. Where the followers of gods (Gandharvas) used to praise her when she, fondled by Kardama, entered in the swimming pool fragrant with lotuses.

20. It (the household) was most covetable even to the queens of Indra. But she just abandoned it. Due to the anxiety caused by the separation of her son, she was dejected in appearance.

21. As her husband left for the forest (after renouncing the world) Devahūti, though she realized the Truth (the Sāṃkhya Principles), became overanxious due to the separation from her son, like a calf-loving cow is fond after her young one.

22.Oh child (Vidura), she meditated upon her child Kapila who was the God Hari. In a short time, she became indifferent to that type of rich household.

23.According to the guide-lines given by her son, she meditated upon the form of the gracious-looking Lord—the object of meditation—by the method of contemplating the complete form followed by concentration on the parts of it.[2]

24.By means of stream or overflow of devotion, by powerful renunciation, and by knowledge which was produced by the proper observances of vows[3] leading to Brahma-hood.

25.Her mind became pure. She was then lost in the meditation of all-pervading Atman who by his essential light removes the limitations of the guṇas of Māyā.

26.Her mind became steadied in the glorious Brahman which is the shelter of all the jīvas. As she superseded her state of being a jīva, all her afflictions were over and she attained to the blessed stage.

27.As she was always engaged in continuous meditation and her delusion due to guṇas was dispelled, at that time she did not remember her body, just as an object seen in a dream (is found to be unreal) after waking up.

28. Her body was fed by others (viz. Vidyādhara damsels who were produced by Kardama for attendance upon her). As she was free from diseases, she did not become emaciated. Her body was covered with filth. She looked like a fire covered with smoke.

29. Her mind was so deeply entered (i.e. absorbed) in Vāsudeva that she was not conscious of her body. She had so completely given herself up to penance and Yoga that her hair fell dishevelled and clothes were dropped aṇd she was protected by her previous karma (daiva).

30. In this way she progressed by the path expounded by Kapila. Within a short period she attained to the Supreme Soul, the Brahman, the glorious Lord; the stage called Nirvāṇa.

31. Oh warrior (Vidura), the place called Siddhapada where she attained the Liberation became famous as the holiest place in the three worlds.

32. Oh gentle Vidura, her mortal body from which impurities were eliminated by Yoga, was transformed into a river, a prominent one among many rivers. It blesses one with siddhis and is resorted to by Siddhas.

33. Even glorious Kapila, the great Yogin, obtained the permission of his mother to depart from his father’s hermitage and proceeded to the northern direction.

34. He was praised by multitude of Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Gandharvas, sages and celestial nymphs. He was also respectfully received by the sea and was presented a valuable dwelling place.

35. Kapila stays there practising Yoga. He is highly eulogized by the great teachers of Sāṃkhya School. For the peace and tranquillity of the three worlds, he lives there (absorbed) in meditation.

36. Oh child (Vidura), as per your query I have narrated to you the sacred dialogue between Kapila and Deva- hūti, Oh sinless one.

37. He who listens to this or narrates this doctrine of the Sage Kapila regarding the secret knowledge about the Ātman, becomes able to concentrate his mind upon the venerable Lord whose banner has the emblem of Garuḍa, and he attains to the lotus-like feet of the glorious Lord.

Footnotes and references:



(i) Kapila was the patron of Yogins who are famous for their knowledge of the Tattvas viz. Prakṛti, Puruṣa and others—VṚ.

(ii) Kapila was the supporter of Brahmā and other numerous Śiddhas who are devoted to the Tattva, viz., Viṣṇu.—Padaratnāvalī

(iii) Kapila is so called because he was the past master in the Bhakti- tattva, Sāṃkhya-System, Yoga-tattva etc.—VC.

(iv) Kapila was the asylum of Siḍḍhis which are characterised by Vaiṣṇava-Sāṃkhya the main subject of which are the Tattvas, viz., cit. acit Brahman.—Siddhāntapradīpa

(v) Kapila was the preceptor of Siddhas who are characterised by the knowledge of Tattvas, viz., Prakṛti, Puruṣa, Īśvara etc.—Bālaprabodhini


Vide Supra III. 28.12-33.


Cf. Bhagavad Gītā 6.17.

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